With no preseason this year it has been a difficult task assessing how it will go. Week 1 had a some upsets, under-performers, and veteran standouts. Now that we got the first game out of the way here’s one thing about every team going forward.
New England Patriots – The Perennial AFC East Champions are going to be tough to knock off even after losing walking Hall of Famer Tom Brady. The always elusive, inventive, and resourceful coaching duo of Belichick and McDaniels will squeeze every bit of production from a reborn Cam Newton as well as his rag tag teammates who all chose not to opt out this year.
Buffalo Bills – The competition for this backfield has already headed up and the rookie Zack Moss is in a full blown committee with sophomore stand out Devin Singletary. It’s going to be very interesting to see who out of these two talented backs receives the lion’s share of snaps from this explosive offense led by Josh Allen.
New York Jets – The disfunction that was being played out in preseason spilled onto the field for Adam Gase’s Jets. If you read the tealeaves the friction between Leveon Bell and Gase could be a microcosm of what’s going on behind the scenes. After a lackluster outing against division rival Buffalo can New York rebound in week 2?
Miami Dolphins – It may be Tua Time sooner than many of us thought! After the ever majestic Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 3 interceptions in Fox borough one has to wonder how long the leash will be before they deploy the former Alabama phenom Tua Taovailoa.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers defense picked up right where it left off last year and dominated in their first game on Monday Night Football by completely neutralizing Saquon Barkley and terrorizing Daniel Jones. With Big Ben back Pittsburgh could be in playoff contention after being left on the outside looking in last season.
Cincinnati Bengals – #1 Draft pick Joe Burrow is the real deal. Debuting against one of the most talented defenses in the NFL, Burrow showed moxie and poise while almost bringing his team back after a sluggish start.
Baltimore Ravens – Home to 2019’s MVP in Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens have continued the war path that they began last year that was abruptly ended by the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round. The defense adding stout veterans to thier front 7 in Calais Campbell, Matthew Judon, Justin Ellis, and Derek Wolfe will make them another extremely tough team to beat.
Cleveland Browns – It’s going to be an upward climb in a gritty AFC North division that takes no prisoners. This year is make or break for Baker Mayfield and the pressure is on, how will he respond?
Jacksonville Jaguars – Last week the Jags ruined Phillip River’s Colts debut in one of the biggest week 1 upsets. They now know what it means to get Minshewed! After releasing Leonard Fournette and trading key pieces on the Defense this off season many of us though this would be a tank year for a high pick in the 2021 draft. Gardener Minshew II has a different idea.
Indianapolis Colts – After losing to the Jaguars and losing starting running back Marlon Mack the Colts are going to need to need a big rebound at home against the Minnesota Vikings. Rookie Johnathan Taylor will need prove that he was worth the high draft pick in 2020 especially after being given this big of an opportunity this early in his career.
Tennessee Titans – The success of this offense continues to depend on the work horse running back Derrick Henry. With 34 total touches it seems that the Titans aren’t going to wait for the second half of the season to get him going. If they can get their kicking situation in order Tennessee will have another successful year.
Houston Texans – This completely retooled offense is going to need to work out the kinks before they perform at the level Coach/ GM Bill O’Brian wants them to be at. With a Quarterback like Deshaun Watson they should be fine but will the hole left behind by Deandre Hopkins be to gaping to fill?
Kansas City Chiefs – The defending champs are going to be explosive again led by the sensational Patrick Mahomes and with the addition of Clyde Edwards-Helaire the Chiefs are almost impossible to stop. Time will tell if they continue to shock the football world.
Los Angeles Chargers – In its first season without Phillip Rivers in 16 years the Chargers are staring a new chapter with Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and incumbent rookie backup Justin Herbert. With one of the most talented defenses in the NFL led by Joey Bosa, the Chargers are looking to make ripples in a division thats easy to get overshadowed by the high flying Chiefs.
Las Vegas Raiders – John Gruden and Mike Mayock have finally put together a team that is all in at every position group. In possibly one of the most important years for Derek Carr the pressure is on after getting some high draft picks at wide receiver and a extremely good veteran offensive line. The Raiders should be fun to watch this year!
Denver Broncos – Denver’s offseason strategy was to build around Quarterback Drew Lock in the draft and free agency but if Week 1 is any indication it is going to take some stellar play from the Sophomore QB to rack up wins in an extremely competitive division.
Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott’s quest for a long term contract continues after having a breakout year last season and now that the Cowboys have retooled with stud rookie wide out CeeDee Lamb, sky is the limit. Since Dallas is such a polarizing team they will always get the best out of their opponents and continue to have a target on their backs.
The Washington Football Team – After the explosive story that came out in USA today about the toxic behind the scenes culture in Washington Ron Rivera has started this season on a high note. The Washington football team will be underdog in most of their games but if they play all their games with the passion they had in week 1 they should continue to surprise.
Philadelphia Eagles – The extensive injury list (Alshon Jeffery, Miles Sanders, Lane Johnson, Jalen Reagar, Boston Scott) seems to have caught up with the Eagles again this season. After getting upset but Washington last week Carson Wentz and his group of elite tight ends have to pull together to make another run at the Super Bowl this season.
New York Giants – This team has found it’s franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones but it is still in rebuilding mode. Once they fortify their offensive and defensive lines I believe the New York Giants can return to relevance but until then it is going to be difficult, especially with one of the hardest schedules in football.
Chicago Bears – After going down 6-20 to the Detroit Lions the Bears were able to claw back to win in the fourth quarter. After an offseason filled with speculation after the signing of Nick Foles many people though that Mitch Trubisky’s days in Chicago were numbered. For now this is Mitch’s job to lose.
Detroit Lions – Rookie Running back and Georgia stand out Deandre Swift may have had a key dropped pass in the fourth quarter to win the game but him and Adrian Peterson looked like a duo that could really have an impact this season. Matthew Stafford’s arm looked as good as any in the NFL and should be able to provide big numbers this season if healthy.
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers is not the man you want to motivate but it seems that an offseason of talk whether it be him being left out of the top 10 in NFL’s top 100 or the high draft pick the Packers spent on Quarterback Jordan Love have made him a man on a mission. Green Bay looks to repeat as division champs with one of the more dynamic rosters in the NFC North.
Minnesota Vikings – Throughout the years Mike Zimmer has always put out a hard hitting stingy defense but not last week against an almost perfect Green Bay offense. Kirk Cousin’s and the Vikings will be looking to rebound against an equally determined Indianapolis Colts team. One team will leave 1-1, the other 0-2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Even with a retooled Tom Brady and a resurrected Gronk the Buccaneers aren’t going to be handed shit. After a disappointing week 1 Tom and this high powered offense have a chance to bounce back against one of the softer D’s in the league, if they lose it may be time to press the panic button.
New Orleans Saints – The New Orleans Saints had a whole off season to hear about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and definitely made a point of putting their focus on Week 1. Drew Brees and the Saints are in win now mode with a high powered offense and hard hitting defense. After losing Michael Thomas for the next few weeks the Saints are playing the long game to make sure they have their elite receiver when they need him most in the playoffs.
Carolina Panthers – We are now in the post Cam Newton era in Carolina and Matt Rhule wants to bring the high flying passing offense he had in Baylor to life with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm. With Christian Mcaffrey this offense will put up points but will this young defense be able to stop anyone this year?
Atlanta Falcons – After taking a loss in Week 1 to the Seahawks the Falcons are back to the drawing board and hopefully can be more competitive on the defensive side of the ball. With an offense led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Todd Gurley Atlanta shouldn’t have a problem putting up points but can they survive in this gauntlet of a division?
Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll will continue to be title contenders as long as they are together in Seattle. After historically always being a running team news came out of training camp that the offense was going to be more dependent on Wilson’s arm by throwing more. #letrusscook
San Francisco 49ers – This run-centric team is going to need more than three wide receivers especially with injuries to Deebo Samuels and First Round Pick Brandon Aiyuk. Hopefully the Signing of Mohammad Sanu with breath some life into this decimated position group.
Los Angeles Rams – Sean McVay is two years separated from a Super Bowl appearance but you can never count out the master play caller. Aaron Donald continues to be one of the most feared players in the NFL and after upsetting Dallas the Rams have shown that they are going to be a team to be reckoned with.
Arizona Cardinals – With offseason addition of Deandre Hopkins Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals look to crush teams with the Kliff Kingsbury Air raid offense. Murray should improve in his second year and already has had a statement win against last years NFC Champion 49ers.